Phnom Penh, 13 November 2012
We are more than 150 representatives from ……. Non-Govermental Organizations (NGOs), and …….communities, from rural and urban communities, and unions; including individual workers, women migrants workers, entertentment women worker, women homosexuality group, students and women suffering due to Government development projects–representatives of the greater Cambodian citizenry, including young women’s networks. We came together in the Cambodian Women forum from 13 November, 2012 in Phnom Penh, to identify and discuss the problems, challenges and needs of Cambodian women in their contemporary situation, in order to find support and seek solutions from the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) and the Leader of Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), so that these challenges can be addressed.
The 21st ASEAN summit will take place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on the 18-20 November 2012, under Cambodian rotating chairmanship. This is a great opportunity for the Cambodian people, as well as for all ASEAN people to call the attention of ASEAN governments to the problems facing them, so the government can address those problems in an effective, transparent, and timely manner, in accordance with ASEAN charters and existing legal instruments.
At the recent “Cambodian Women’s Forum,” representatives from five different commune provinces, one day duration contributed to produce a list of grave issues facing the women of Cambodia. We identified our main challenges as follows:
There are gaps in the protective mechanism for migrant workers, especially women who work as internal and external domestic workers contribute the incrasing of disappearance of relatives or dead, mental and physical abuse to the worker, sexual harrassment, mental illness, and loss of property and time.
The lower price of domestic agriculture product and market limitation contribute the financial problems to the farmers in their everyday life.
Short term employment contracts and lower wages for woman factory workers and women worker in other sector lead their finacial conditions in difficulty. The resulting of these issues forces women into sex work or unwanted migration.
Cambodians – and especially the rural women – face steep obstacles to success in the 2015 ASEAN free-market economic integration due to the lack of education, technical skill in agriculture and industy sector.
There is no independent labor tribunal and inefficient of the law enforcement to render justice for employees.
Granting economic land concessions for development, and the forced evictions carried out by the authorities that follow, result in loss of homes and land, have a profound negative impact on the rights of women and children, the livelihood, health, children’education of affected women and their famílies.
Women who are victims of gender-based violence, labour and sexual exploitation face discriminiation when they appeal to the justice system.
Women who work in the informal economy face severe rights violations, including discrimination, because of the lack of a mechanism to protect their rights.
Many young women don’t have the opportunity for schooling and vocational training due to socio-economic conditions and traditional cultural practices.
The big gap between men and women in decision making and leadership to participate in politice especially young women because of less encouragement, support and protection for women.
After the two-day meeting, we come up with the following recommendations for the Royal Government of Cambodia and ASEAN community:
• Prepare and hasten the implementation of Memorandums of Understanding or agreements with countries that recieve Cambodian workers in order to protect their rights, liberty, and dignity, particularly for domestic and industy workers, in accordance with the ASEAN Declaration on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers, signed on the 17th of January 2007, at the 12th ASEAN summit in Cebu, Philippines, and other international legal instruments.
• Ratify the ILO Covention 189 concerning decent work for domestic workers and the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families.
• Ratify the ILO Convention 183 on the protection of women’s maternity rights and benefits before, during and after maternity leave.
• ASEAN member States should provide the opportunity for civil society groups and citizens, especially women, to participate meaningfully in decision making, and in designing policies and action plans deemed beneficial for women.
• Improve law enforcement pratice and eliminate discrimination against women in implementing law.
• Create an independent court for labor issues in the ASEAN community.
• Short-term contracts should not allow to use in factories and tourism in the ASEAN community.
• Provide access to people especially women in rural areas to low-interest loans and eliminate illegal penalties or foreclosures for non-payment.
• Allow the forming of forums and networks for young women in ASEAN to promote and protect the rights of women.
• Receive recommendations and suggestions from civil society organizations and citizens in an official manner.
• Translate, publish and widely disseminate all ASEAN documents in the language of every country members.
• Mainstream information on ASEAN and the impact of the globalization in high school curriculum.
• Create a cross-ASEAN scholarship, internships and employment opportunities scheme for women, especially who from the developing countries within ASEAN.
• Stop forced evictions and the subsequent displacement of people by including current residents in the development plan. The government should create a mechanism that can provide fair compensation and ensure that there is a proper infrastructure in place.
• Create special measures to enable women in the ASEAN community to hold decision-making power at every level and in the ASEAN secretariat.
• Create a public forum twice a year to connect ASEAN leaders with grassroots efforts and individuals.